Duke Offers New Undergraduate Certificate in Sustainability Engagement

Certificate encourages sustainability engagement through interdisciplinary courses and experiential learning

Beginning in spring 2016, Duke University will offer undergraduates the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Sustainability Engagement. Undergraduate students from all disciplines are welcome to pursue the certificate. Sustainability as a field of study, research, and practice is rapidly growing in significance. Understanding the challenges of sustainability demands contributions from every field. It requires collaboration and cross-fertilization between the natural and social sciences, and it depends on the perspectives of the humanities. Protecting the vitality and diversity of the earth’s ecosystems necessarily involves input not just from science and politics but also from business and civil society.   Dirk Philipsen, a Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, closely involved in the certificate planning stated that “as global inhabitants of a finite planet, taking responsibility for one another, future generations, and earth’s living systems means sustainability is the ethical imperative of our time.”The Certificate encourages sustainability engagement through interdisciplinary courses and experiential learning. Four academic courses are required (a gateway, two electives, and a capstone) as well as two co-curricular sustainability engagement experiences of 150 hours and 300 hours. This type of experiential certificate is centrally designed to facilitate learning among students that confronts the interconnections between environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainability.

“I am very excited to see how this certificate will require students to put theory into practice – delve into the messy world of sustainability outside the classroom – where personalities, politics, competing priorities and resource constraints interplay,” said Duke Sustainability Director, Tavey Capps. 

Currently, the Certificate is seeking partner organizations – Duke campus departments, community groups, non-for-profits, or businesses – for certificate students to fulfill their experiential learning component. Organizations interested in helping to build a more sustainable future should fill out this form or contact sustainability@duke.edu.

Given the growing challenges of population growth, economic disparity, ecosystem deterioration, and climate change, experts in sustainability studies are likely to become the vital leaders of tomorrow’s societies. The Undergraduate Sustainability Engagement Certificate Program helps put Duke on the track of becoming a cross-disciplinary educational leader in sustainability studies.

To learn more about the experiential Certificate in Sustainability Engagement or to apply please visit http://sites.nicholas.duke.edu/sustainabilitycert/